Humans tend to be cyclic in nature. From celebrating birthdays, harvests, New Years and anniversaries, we seem to take comfort in the completion of a cycle. Death anniversaries are much the same. When I experienced it for the first time, the cycle habit became a form of sanity almost, and it provided a kind of comfort. One day, one week, one month… then there are the ‘firsts’ of life which become emotionally charged. The first birthday without my mum was more painful somehow than just an ordinary day without her.
From the body perspective though, finishing a cycle made me feel like I had done something useful, even though it has just been the passing of a chunk of time. Almost like a form of relief in that ‘Phew, I made it through…’
My gorgeous, funny, bossy, caring, loving, sassy sister passed away a decade ago. Ten years. The world seems duller without her unique kind of shine. She lived far from me, but somehow always felt close. We shared many experiences together in my youth and I always felt protected by having such a glam, cool sister on my side. She would call me up on things that only she could. My other sisters kind of say it, but Joanne had balls to call a spade a shovel. She accused me one year of being ‘boring’. It stung like hell, and I gasped when she said it, but she was right and I am thankful that she pointed out my dark path I was beginning to inhabit. She was disgusted my the state of my underwear, and ‘scabby’ was the word I think she used. I am still trying to improve that one though 😉 She would tell me to stand up straight when I was slouching and to stop trying to hide away. She tried to force gin and tonic onto me in the pubs, but that I managed to refuse. I miss her.
As a teacher, then wife then mum, she sort of mellowed, but she still had a sting when she needed it. I had never heard her ‘teacher voice’ before as I think she developed it in my absence, but when she roared, it was amusing -as long as it wasn’t towards me. I was fortunate to spend a long period of time with her when she was sick and feel honoured to have just sat in her silence and munched toast and tea.
Life is full of great people with happy times as well as the sad, but now the pain of her absence is less and the joy of having the luxury of being her sister is heartwarming. I am glad to have shared the planet with her and I realise my heart is big enough to hold all sorts of different love.
Rest in peace Joanne, we all miss you.